Indiana's first dedicated nature preserve, Pine Hills is a remarkable example of the natural beauty our state has to offer. Hogback ridges with steep dropoffs, craggy hills, deep gorges and extensive sandstone bluffs are covered with stands of evergreens and hardwood trees. It is truly an outstanding natural area, and well-deserving of the praises so many Hoosiers have bestowed upon it.
Fun fact - Pine Hills was the first project of the The Nature Conservancy's Indiana Chapter!
North Central Tillplain
State Nature Preserve, 1969
National Natural Landmark, 1968
Division of State Parks and Reservoirs
Groves of northern relict hemlock, white pine, Canada yews, old-growth oak, hickory forests and virgin beech/maple woods make Pine Hills one of Indiana's finest woodlands. Five miles of clear streams flow past overhanging cliffs and treacherous rock slides, so please step with care, especially around the several steep backbones - like the Devil's Backbone, Turkey Backbone and Mill Cut Backbone - which have dropoffs of 70 -125 feet. The variety of terrain provides habitat for various species of wildflowers, ferns and other rare plants.
The easy to moderate terrain and existing trails at the preserve will make for an exciting hike around the preserves. It can be easy to get lost in these woods with its switchbacks and box canyons, so be cautious of your steps. For more hiking opportunities in the area, visit the adjacent Shades State Park.
Notice: Entry into Pine Hills is now from within Shades State Park. The State Park may have an entrance fee; see their website for complete details. The parking lot and trail head located along Hwy 234 have been replaced with a new parking lot and trail head accessed by following signs within Shades State Park.